Approximately 60 km from the city of Bengaluru, close to the Bangalore International Airport, in the Chikkaballapur district, there lies an ancient hill fortress Nandi Hills also known as Nandidurg or Nandi Betta. Situated at a height of 1,480 meters above the sea level, the hill is known for once being a Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace. Blessed with a pleasant climate and picturesque location featuring the misty mountains and the brilliant sunrise, it has become a quite popular weekend outing spot for the Bangaloreans.
Nandi Hills is a popular summer resort as temperatures hover around 25 degrees here during this period. During winter, the temperatures drop down to as low as 5 degrees. Best time to reach there is before sunrise. The sun rises at around 5:30 am during summers, and it is truly a magical sight to watch. The wind, fog, and clouds that blow towards you in the morning is just amazing. To enjoy the sunrise at this beautiful location, you need to start early morning (around 4:00-4:30 AM) from Bengaluru.
This 60 km journey takes you past a picturesque route. The hills are located about 20 km from the National Highway (NH-7) just after Devanahalli Town. 10km after passing by BIAL airport flyover, as you take a left diversion from NH 7 and turn towards Nandi hill road, you start feeling a sudden change in landscape and also climate. As you start climbing the hill, the road turns curvy with few sharp hairpin bends along steep slopes adorned with pictorial farms and hamlets. On the way, you can see many folks cycling all the way to the top. Nandi Hills is cyclists paradise, around 400 meters of altitude gain in 7 km of the ride, The bikers/cyclists from Bangalore storm there on weekends and holidays. It’s a very good hill training spot for them.
The region around Nandi Hills is also known for its Vineyards. You can give a short visit to those grape orchards while returning and even buy fresh grapes from small girls selling them on the road sides.
While Nandi Hills hosts many temples built by the Cholas, its prominence gained multifold when Tipu Sultan built his Summer Palace at the site. The palace is protected by the Karnataka State government and is a major tourist attraction now. Sprawling over an area of 90 acres, this beautiful palace has engraved walls and ceilings. You need to take an entry ticket of 10 Rs at the base of the fortress.In addition to this, a parking fee of Rs 100 is levied for cars and Rs 20 for two-wheelers. From there you have to climb 1,175 steps to reach the top of the hill. The steps leading from the fort entrance to the summit are surrounded by vegetation that forms the ideal habitat for various species of wintering thrushes and warblers.
Tourist Attractions on the Hills
- Tipu’s Drop – the famous place from where Tippu Sultan had his condemned prisoners thrown to death.
- Tipu’s Summer Palace and Fort – During the Ganga period, the Chikkaballapur Chieftains built a fort. Tippu strengthened it further and also built a rest house. This used to be Tippu’s summer bungalow. It is not open to the general public.
- Horse Way – A stone doorway in the fort on the North-eastern side, is believed to have been the horse way for helping soldiers to climb the wall on horseback.
- Secret Escape Route – A secret passage on the west, is believed to have helped the Kings to escape during unforeseen attacks.
- Temples – there are temples dedicated to Sri Bhoga Narasimha, Sri Ugra Narasimha and Sri Yoga Narasimha and you can see beautiful old temples.
- Gavi Veerbhadra Swamy temple: on top of the hill, on the way to the Sultanpet, from Tippu’s palace, a natural formation of huge boulders have been transformed into a magnificent temple.
- Children’s Playground – The Horticulture department maintains a lovely garden for children to play games like the slides, merry-go-round, swings etc.
- Nehru Nilaya – where Jawaharlal Nehru used to stay, now a guest house of the horticulture department of India.
- Gandhi House, where the Mahatma himself stayed, is under the management of DPAR (Protocol) Government of Karnataka and is reserved for the stay of important dignitaries.
- Rivers – the rivers Pennar, Palar and Arkavati originate from these hills. Most of the sources have dried up. Amruth Sarovar is a beautiful water lake that brims with lucid water all the year round.
Bangalore is only 60 km from Nandi Hills, If you are planning to visit Nandi Hills, You can give a short visit to Bangalore also. You can use trip planner app VisitIn which will help you to find the shortest sequence to visit top tourist places of Bangalore.